Scuba diving is an activity that is growing in popularity all the time and like most popular past times, there seems to be many people out there who believe themselves to be experts just because they think that they know a few key facts about it! However, more often than not these so called facts turn out to be inaccurate! There are a number of very common myths and misconceptions about scuba diving that are often presented as facts by those who do not know any better, which is why I have decided to bring together some of these alleged facts which are actually false!
You Need to be a Good Swimmer to go Scuba Diving
One of the most common misconceptions that is presented as a bona fide fact is that you have to be a good swimmer in order to participate in scuba diving. However, this is actually completely false. While you may feel more confident in the water if you are a swimmer, there is no reason why non-swimmers cannot go scuba diving. Moving through the water while diving is completely different to swimming on the surface. You will need to be able to propel yourself by gently kicking your legs to make use of your fins, but your arms will be pretty useless. The main skill you need is going to be having decent balance and the ability to remain calm underwater, so do not let a lack of swimming ability put you off trying scuba diving!
Marine Life is Dangerous
Another thing that many uneducated people tout as fact is that scuba diving is a dangerous sport, because of all the dangerous marine life you are going to encounter. Again, this is completely inaccurate. Of course, creatures like sharks, moray eels, jelly fish and even fire coral can be dangerous, but do you really think that so many popular resorts would be offering water diving tours if it was that dangerous? One of the main rules of Scuba Diving is to touch nothing and to take only memories. If you follow these rules then you are unlikely to come to any harm. The majority of fish in popular diving spots are used to divers and will swim right up to you. The bigger species like the sharks tend not to get close to humans.
Most divers will only ever see them in the distance. To be honest, most of the so called dangerous marine life is likely to be more afraid of you than you are of it and as long as you do not give the creatures any reason to see you as a threat then you won’t have a problem. Ironically, the one fish that is most likely to try and attack you is the clown fish – you know, like Nemo! Despite being just a few centimetres in length, Clown Fish are very territorial and will protect their eggs at all cost if you get too close!
Nitrogen Narcosis Happens When You Dive
This one is a little bit more tricky, because there is actually some truth to the misconceptions that people seem to have about Nitrogen narcosis. The facts regarding this are that at a certain depth (somewhere beyond 30m) nitrogen can become toxic to us. This is known as Nitrogen narcosis. This is not particularly dangerous as long as you know what to do, but if not taken seriously there can be some serious consequences. If a diver fails to recognise the symptoms, they may not realise that it is having an effect on their behaviour. If Nitrogen narcosis occurs you might fine yourself sort of zoning out. Some behaviours reported include staring at rocks or offering air to the fish!
So yes, Nitrogen narcosis is a thing, but as long as you have someone with you to help you back to the surface it need not be a major issue and it certainly doesn’t happen to everyone every single time.